Day of Peace in Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan - On September 19, UPF-Japan hosted a forum for Ambassadors for Peace in a hall in Tokyo in honor of the International Day of Peace. With the participation of nearly 80 Ambassadors for Peace residing in the Tokyo metropolitan area, Mr. Yoshio Watanabe, Head of the Institute of International Peace (member of the board of UPF-Japan) gave a commemoration speech on the theme, “Challenge to World Peace and Expectations of the New Japanese Administration.” In Japan, the Democratic Party of Japan took over power from the Liberal Democratic Party after the general election on August 30, and the party’s President, Yukio Hatoyama, had just assumed the post of Prime Minister three days earlier, on September 16. Hatoyama intends to call for disarmament and “a nuclear-free world” at the UN General Assembly that is to be held from September 24.

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First, Mr. Seiichi Kikuya, Secretary General of UPF-Japan, gave an opening address and explained the significance of the International Day of Peace and the activities of UPF. Pointing out the fact that one fifth of world’s population live on less than one dollar per day, when on the other hand the amount of grain produced in the world is more than enough to feed the world, he emphasized the root cause of poverty to be “the lack of true love which considers humanity as brothers and sisters.” He then explained the vision of “One Family under God” and emphasized the importance of addressing the issues of religion and family in order to realize world peace.

He also described the annual ceremony that takes place on the United Nations International Day of Peace at the UN Headquarters in New York where the UN Secretary-General rings the Japanese Peace Bell. The Japanese Peace Bell was donated to the United Nations by the Japanese government in 1954. Engraved on one side of the bell are Japanese characters世界絶対平和萬歳, meaning “Long live absolute world peace,” and on the other is a world map with no national borders, symbolizing that the world is one.

After Mr. Kikuya read aloud the UPF Peace Declaration for the International Day of Peace, Mr. Watanabe gave a speech. He described August 30 as a “historical day” of substantive change in the Japanese administration since the Liberal Democratic Party took power in 1955*. Then, commenting on the new administration’s direction toward world peace, he analyzed the cause of the Liberal Democratic Party’s defeat in the recent general election. “The Liberal Democratic Party ‘expired’ because it was unable to present a vision for Japan within a post-Cold War world.”

Pointing to the fact that Hatoyama visited President Lee Myung-bak in Korea and revealed his intention to change Japanese attitudes toward historical issues right after assuming power as the Democratic Party of Japan President, Mr. Watanabe analyzed Democratic Party of Japan’s foreign policy toward Asia as “completely different” from that of the Liberal Democratic Party. He then mentioned the debate about whether the Japan-Asia relationship should be based on “pro” or “anti” US-Japan alliance and claimed that it should definitely be on a “pro-US” basis.

After the Cold War ended, global issues transcending national borders such as religious, ethnic, environmental, and financial concerns have risen to the surface. Mr. Watanabe pointed out that the United Nations and the world today are “incapable of governing these issues.”

Furthermore, explaining Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s concept of a “Peace UN,” he emphasized that it is up to the UPF Ambassadors for Peace who share the UPF’s vision of peace to “make practical steps toward building peace in the most difficult parts of the world such as the Korean peninsula and the Middle East” in order to gain acknowledgment of this vision and concept from the world.

* Note: Even during the ten months period where a non-Liberal Democratic Party coalition party took power after the general election in 1993, the Liberal Democratic Party remained the dominant party.

To read UPF's Declaration on the International Day of Peace 2009, click here.

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